Apparently, his family doesn't want to stay with him in Manila.
“He said this might be the end of his basketball career,” said Uichico.
“I said you caught me off-guard with this. I plan to call him up but just to talk things, not persuade him to come back,” Uichico added.
Was Hatfield's decision not to return a result of Uichico's relegation to being deputy to coach Siot Tanquingcen.
"It may be part of or maybe not. I don't know. It's just that he has decided not to return," said Uichico.
Hatfield was supposed to return from the United States on Aug. 22 but Uichico himseelf advised the player to delay his travel plan since Ginebra won’t be back to practice until after the rookie draft.
“He said ‘okay, I’ll fly before or after the draft,’ then came his email message sayinghe’ll no longer be back,” said Uichico.
Hatfield was a great energy source for Ginebra, emerging as the league rebounding champion in the last Philippine Cup.
He had just returned from a long sabbatical when he left again after the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup, leaving a big void in the Ginebra frontline. (SB)
Meanwhile,Like Ginebra teammate Rudy Hatfield, Jayjay Helterbrand is now thinking oncalling it quits.In fact, the one-time MVP awardee has just settled for only a one-conference contract-extension deal.
“Tignan nya raw muna kung kaya pa nya. Pag hindi na, baka bumalik na daw sya sa US dahil lumalaki na raw ang anak nya. Gusto nyang mabantayan sa paglaki,” said SMC official Robert Non.
Father time beckons for Helterbrand, who’s easily among the league’s best in the last decade.
Helterbrand, 34, has been in the league since 2000, reaching the pinnacle of his career in winning the MVP award in 2009.
He’s also a recipient of two Mythical Five honors, two All-Star MVP plums plus the honors of donning the national colors in the last two Fiba Asia championships.
He alternated with Jimmy Alapag in playing the pointguard chores for the Philippine team in the 2007
Tokushima Meet, and played with Willie Miller in manning the same spot for the Nationals in the 2009 Tianjin joust.
But age seems to have caught up with Helterbrand.
He’s been bothered by an assortment of health woes in the last two years.
The other half of Ginebra’s famed “Fast and Furious” duo is coming off another good season that merited him a lucrative contract-extension deal.
Mark Caguioa led eight players who have just been re-signed by Barangay Ginebra.
Caguioa inked a fresh two-year pact worth P8.4 million even as Eric Menk settled for a one-year contract-extension deal for P4.2 million.
Rico Villanueva also signed a new contract, ready to plunge back into action having recovered from a knee injury.
Ginebra also re-signed Yancy de Ocampo, thus, keeping a solid frontline rotation despite Rudy Hatfield’s decision
not to return anymore.
Filling in the spot left by Hatfield is former FEU banger Neil Cervantes. (SB)